27 and starting journey.....help!

So here’s the deal…

I’m a 27 yr old white male. I first went to college at CU from 2001-2004 with a 1.7 GPA. However this was due to the fact that I was an active alcoholic!! My sobriety date is 5/14/2004!

In the 5 years of getting sober I got back into undergraduate and graduated with a 3.1 in psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2007.

I spent 2 years lying to myself and everyone else doing sales. I recently accepted a position with the department of psychology doing research with people with a dx of schizophrenia. I do assessments and fMRI’s on them. Very cool…

I’ve considered the MD since I was in 8th grade; it has become clear that I enjoy working with patients far and away more than anything else in my job.

I still have to take all the Chemistry and a couple other pre-reqs to apply to med school.

Fortunately this should raise my GPA. What do I need to do here?

I get a lot of clinical experience in my job and I believe medicine may be for me. I’m conducting informational interviews with people in medicine. I should also mention my father is a cardio-thoracic surgeon and my mom is a RN.

Should I go for a post-bac program? I told the University I would give them a 2 year commitment. Also I get 75% of my classes paid for because I work for them. So I could complete many of my pre-reqs over the next 2 years.

But a post-bac may help even more; I’m thinking a 1 year post-bac following my 2 years of employment at the university and entering the MD in 3 or 4 years.


Hi Ed, and welcome! First congrats on your sobriety, I’m sure that was very difficult.

While you won’t have an easy go of it due to the currently low GPA, it is still possible. If you look through Old Man Dave’s posts, you’ll see he also had a pretty low GPA to start and now he is an attending Anesthesiologist!

You really don’t need to do a “formal” post-bacc. Since you work for the uni and can take classes at a discount, I’d follow through on that.

I have to agree, that you current position sounds very interesting in itself…

While you definitely appeared to have a tough time earlier, you are showing a very good and positive uptrend. Also, at 27, you could still be considered a baby on this forum.

Best of luck to you!

Thank you for the warm welcome…it is appreciated.

I have a couple questions…

  1. Do med schools average your GPA from every undergraduate university?

  2. Where can I find the post about Old Man Dave’s GPA stuff?

As for your first question, it depends. You need to record all of your classes that you took. For your cumulative GPA, AAMCAS (MD schools) will average everything, while AACOMAS (DO schools) will average in just the retakes. They will see all grades, but if you failed a class and then retake it for an A or B, they will only average in that A or B, not the failing grade.

For the second question, you may need to be a search and you can also check his diary.


Welcome to the group! And congrats on both your sobriety and your degree!

You will be well served doing either of the options you lay out. If it were me, I’d go for the discounted tuition–as a now 4th year medical student the debt becomes ever-more real with each passing day. On the other hand, you may not feel that you have the needed time to excel in your courses while also working. And the debate will continue in your mind.

The GPA will be a tough thing to overcome if you are applying to MD programs–not unsurmountable, but tougher. Unfortunately, many schools will look only at your GPA and MCAT when deciding whether to grant you an interview. That being said, there are always exceptions to the rule, and being that you are at the University, if you are interested in their program, you can begin making contact with the admissions team and making them aware of your situation now so they may perhaps overlook the first round of schooling. Whichever direction you take, try to figure out which option would allow you to perform best.

Speaking in general terms, DO schools are more forgiving of issues from a student’s past. The good thing is every year DO’s become more and more accepted as equals to MD’s with respect to residency programs–certainly not 100% yet, but making progress. I’d encourage you to consider these programs as well.

You have an amazing story, and one which many ad-coms will understand has value for all the students attending their schools. IMHO, the most important thing to focus on now is doing what you can to have the most solid application in order to get yourself an interview–then you can really amaze them with the “whole package”!

Here’s to many more successes and many more years of sobriety!